RETAIL trade union Usdaw has today (15 July) launched the first annual National Retail Workers’ Day, which engages with the public to highlight the value of retail workers in our shops and communities. Scottish shopworkers are joining regional campaign events in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, asking the public to show their support and share the message that ‘retail workers are at the heart of our communities’.
Retail directly employs over 260,000 Scottish workers, it is the biggest private sector employer in the region. Across the UK there are nearly 3 million shopworkers, with around a further 1.5 million jobs reliant on the success of the industry. The staff are at the core of retail, which is crucial to the UK economy and a vital part of high streets and communities. National Retail Workers’ Day provides a great opportunity to thank all retail workers for the hard work they do, day in day out.
As the trade union for retail workers, Usdaw represents hundreds of thousands of workers across the UK retail sector. The union continues to make a difference for retail workers, delivering better jobs with better terms and conditions by:
- negotiating higher pay rates and more secure employment contracts;
- campaigning to ‘Save Our Shops’ by calling for urgent action to revitalise our high streets;
- delivering for our members supportive policies on the menopause, greater support on mental health issues and caring for children and family;
- working with employers, politicians and the police to tackle abuse, threats and violence towards retail workers.
Tracy Gilbert, Usdaw Regional Secretary for Scotland, commented: “Today we are celebrating the role of retail workers, who undertake an essential role in Scotland’s communities and across the UK economy. On behalf of Usdaw, I want to thank retail workers for the incredible role they do and invite the public to join with us on this inaugural national Retail Workers’ Day. It is only right that retail workers are a part of this positive event and enjoy good relations with the communities they serve. This day of appreciation adds to our year-round campaigning for the Government to deliver improved workers’ rights and negotiating with employers for better terms and condition.
“Retail work is 24/7, mentally and physically demanding, multi-skilled, high pressure, profit driven, and target led. Retail workers have to be adaptable and dynamic, responding to rapid changes in a fast-moving consumer driven industry. Despite the demands of the job, many retail workers and their families are facing impossible decisions just to make ends meet. While everyone has been affected by the rising cost of living, retail workers have been at the sharp end of it.
“The retail sector continues to be of fundamental importance to the UK economy and society as a whole. Despite this, retail jobs do not reflect their true value and significance. It is clear that more needs to be done by both employers and Government to help shape the future of retail work and to ensure retail jobs provide people with the decent pay and hours they both need and deserve. In addition to decent pay and hours, staff should feel safe and valued at work.”